hello, and welcome to nhk world "newsline." i'm raja pradhan with the news from tokyo. people pinning their hopes on a controversial scientific experiment may be disappointed. a leading japanese research team says it's been unable to find evidence that so-called stap cells actually exist. haruko obokata and her team at the riken institute published papers in january. they claimed they found a way to reprogram mature animal cells into embryonic-like stem cells. they said those cells could be turned into any type of tissue.
they called the phenomenon stap. they said the stap cells could be easily produced, but many scientists around the world reported they were unable to replicate the process. on wednesday, officials at riken released an interim report on verification experiments they'd been conducted since april. the team includes a co-author of the stap papers. they followed procedures outlined in obokata's papers. the paper said the cells were taken from a newly born mouse. the cells were then soaked in a mildly acidic solution for 25 minutes to provide stimulus. on day three, the genes of pluripotency related cells that didn't die off began to act. it is the ability of a cell to transform itself into other kinds of tissue. on day five, the cells began to form clusters.
and on day seven, they became embryonic cells. the team members repeated the experiments 22 times, but they say they could not find the early stage phenomena in which genes related to pluripotency began to activate. >> translator: we haven't produced any stap cells yet in the method we've used so far. >> the team will continue to conduct the experiments until march. obokata will conduct verification experiments separately through the end of november. japan's top government spokesperson says prime minister shinzo abe was acting in a private capacity when he sent a message to a buddhist temple. the message was for a ceremony honoring wartime leaders and military personnel, including class-a war criminals. the service took place in april at a temple in western japan. abe's message said he humbly offers condolences to the spirits of martyrs who sacrificed their souls to lay the foundations for japan's peace and prosperity today. chief cabinet secretary
yoshihide suga said he sent the message not as prime minister. he said abe acted in a private capacity and the government declines to comment. suga added it's a fact that class-a war criminals were convicted of crimes against peace at the far east international military tribunal. he said japan accepted the trials in the 1951 san francisco peace treaty. search teams in hiroshima, western japan, are still combing through the mud one week after heavy rain triggered landslides. authorities have confirm the that over 70 people died and more than 10 others remain missing. about 1,300 people are living in temporary shelters. nhk world's noriko okada has more. >> reporter: about 3,000 police officers, firefighters, and self-defense force personnel have been looking for people missing since the disaster.
they are using heavy machinery to move boulders out of the way and to scoop up mud and debris. much of their work has been focused on the southern district. more people died here than in any other area. landslides buried these homes beneath the mud and rubble. four members of one household were all reported missing after the disaster. this man and his mother-in-law were found dead hours after the landslide. searchers looked for his wife and daughter for days but couldn't find them. >> translator: the house is completely gone. i think it's all but impossible to find them. but hopefully they are in the same spot.
i just feel sorry for them. >> reporter: another relative was anxiously waiting for news on the two women. >> translator: toshio was found around there. i heard he and his wife were sleeping on the same floor, so her body must be around here too. >> reporter: six days after the disaster, they finally got some news. police officers told him that they found the bodies of toshio's wife and daughter. >> translator: i can't find any words to say. i just can't stop my tears. but at least i should take comfort in the fact that the family is finally together again. >> reporter: frequent rain has forced recovery teams to halt
their operations again and again. but workers aren't giving up in their search to find every missing person. noriko okada, nhk world. meanwhile, flooding triggered by monsoon rains in bangladesh has disrupted the lives of more than 74,000 people. the number of residents forced from their homes has not yet been officially announced, but it could be in the thousands. in the town of bogra located about 180 kilometers from dhaka, students had to return home when their school building was inundated. more than 300 schools have closed in affected districts. residents are busy building makeshift homes on drier land. flooding has already inflicted serious damage to farms. local authorities say more than 40,000 hectares of farmland, mostly in the northern part of the country, are under water.
reuters quotes dhaka's flood forecasting and warning center is saying the situation could get even worse, given that the wet season runs until september. people in neighboring india and nepal have also been experiencing heavy rain over the past few weeks. nearly 1,500 villages have been affected in india's northern state of uttar pradesh. at least 28 people have been killed. friends and former classmates of slain u.s. journalist james foley gathered to commemorate his life and achievements. they expressed anger toward the people who are responsible for his death. foley was executed by the sunni militant group islamic state in what the group called retaliation for u.s. air strikes in northern iraq.
a memorial service was held at his university. >> jim's life embodied social justice, and we're extremely proud of the way he represented the marquette community. >> a man who graduated with foley said the world has learned about james foley the journalist but most of the people at the gathering knew jim foley as a friend. analysts say the u.s. government is bracing for possible attacks on american soil by u.s. citizens who fought alongside militants in iraq and syria. u.s. military pilots are getting ready to begin surveillance flights over syria. the flights could help u.s. leaders set targets for potential air strikes against sunni militants. media reports say president barack obama gave the go-ahead over the weekend. pentagon officials told "the new york times" that both manned and unmanned aircraft would take part in the operation. that would include drones and
possibly u-2 spy planes. commanders have been trying to track the movements of militants with the group islamic state. the militants have seized control of lands straddling syria and neighboring iraq. "the new york times" says the flights would be a significant step toward direct u.s. military action in syria. but the pentagon's press secretary, john kirby, declined to discuss the operation. >> don't talk about intelligence matters, tony. i'm not going to start doing that today. we're a planning organization here. we have to be prepared for all kinds of options. >> kirby said u.s. officials are not coordinating with syrian leaders on u.s. operations or efforts to combat islamic state militants. lawmakers have been calling for air strikes since they saw this video last week of the murder of a u.s. journalist by sunni militants. people living in the gaza strip and parts of israel are leaving shelters and hoping they won't have to return.
israeli leaders have agreed to an open-ended cease-fire with hamas, the group that controls the palestinian territory. the truce, at least for now, ends a conflict that stretched on for nearly two months. nhk world's craig dale reports. >> reporter: palestinians in gaza rushed into the streets to celebrate. they've been running from israeli air strikes for seven weeks. now they seem confident it's safe to be out in the open. >> translator: i feel happy and joyful like all palestinians do. our family welcomes the truce agreement. >> reporter: hamas leaders took a moment to boast. >> translator: we are here today to announce gaza's victory, said the hamas spokesperson, to declare we have won over the destructive israeli power. >> reporter: that power exacted a steep cost. israeli attacks flattened building after building.
more than 2,100 palestinians died, the vast majority civilians. militants in gaza fired off thousands of rockets at israel. they killed more than 60 israeli soldiers and several civilians. >> i want to come back to regular way of life. i don't want to go to the shelter. >> reporter: the roots of the israeli/palestinian conflict, of course, go back decades, but more recent incidents triggered this war. israeli leaders blamed hamas for killing three israeli teens. the bitterness deepened following the murder of a palestinian teen. three israelis are on trial for what's considered a revenge killing. and so for weeks, they traded fire. israeli leaders said they were working to dismantle hamas rocket launch positions and command centers along with tunnels militants use to attack their country. temporary truces came and went. both sides finally signed off on an open-ended cease-fire after
mediated talks by egyptian officials. they agreed to halt attacks. israel and egypt will ease their restrictions on the border in gaza to allow in humanitarian aid and building supplies. the palestinian authority which controls the west bank will administer the crossings, not hamas. the israelis also agreed to expand a fishing zone for gaza fishermen. negotiations will resume in a month to talk about longer term issues such as israel's demand for hamas to disarm and a palestinian request for the release of prisoners. hamas leaders also want to talk about building a sea port in gaza and rebuilding the territory's airport. and israelis want the remains of their soldiers to be returned. u.s. officials admit this cease-fire is just the beginning. >> certainly there's a long road ahead, and we're aware of that and we're going into this eyes wide open. >> reporter: the israelis say hamas ended up approving an agreement it rejected a month ago. >> ultimately, so much bloodshed
could have been avoided. >> reporter: the palestinians are keenly aware of all they've lost. still, hamas leaders will continue to paint this as a victory. they fought three wars against israel since 2008 and say they're ready for another battle. maintaining a lasting calm will clearly be a complicated undertaking. craig dale, nhk world. now, the iranian government has congratulated hamas leaders for what it calls a palestinian victory. the country's foreign ministry says palestinians have brought the zionist regime to its knees. the ministry also says the latest victory signaled the ultimate liberation of all occupied territories. it pledged to continue supporting the palestinian resistance. now, iran does not recognize israel. a former commander of the country's elite troops, the revolutionary guards, told iranian media organizations this month that the country had provided missile technology to hamas. and he said he believed the islamic group used the technology in the latest
conflict with israel. japan has a target of doubling the number of visitors from overseas by 2020. and to achieve that goal, government officials are to tap the power of information technology. they'll analyze vast amounts of information called big data to learn more about what tourists are looking for. people at the japan tourism agency say they'll ask foreign visitors to download an application for a global positioning system, or gps, on to their smartphones. with their permission, agency researchers plan to find out the destinations the tourists went to and the routes they took. the researchers say they also want to gather data on what the visitors are posting about their experiences in japan through social media, like twitter. the tourism officials plan to share the results with regional governments and business people in related industries. they can then develop new
sight-seeing routes, organize attractive events, and improve facilities for overseas visitors. for this effort, the tourism agency plans to ask for a budget allocation of about $1 million in the coming fiscal year. japanese railway operators will launch a new bullet train line early next year. the new service will begin on march 14th next year. it'll be an extension of the existing line between tokyo and nagano. test runs started last december. passengers will be able to travel from tokyo to kanazawa on the sea of japan coast in about 2 1/2 hours. that's 80 minutes faster than the current route. the president of east japan railway says the role of the "shinkansen" is to create demand from tourists and business travelers. it's expected to give a boost to the economies of areas along the new line. officials with japan's
government ministries are said to demand more than 100 trillion yen, over $960 billion, for the fiscal budget. the record outlay highlights the struggle between the need to balance the government's growth plans and fiscal health. people at the health and welfare ministry will ask for about $304 billion, the biggest request ever. the money is needed to cover pension and medical costs among other growing social security outlays as the country's population ages. prime minister abe's growth strategy is also driving up the budget. officials have decided to allocate nearly $40 billion for projects aimed at enabling the strategy. the total request for policy spending are expected to be about $730 billion. in addition, debt service costs will likely grow to nearly $250 billion as the balance of government bonds continues to rise. officials from each ministry will submit the request to the finance ministry by friday.
automakers from ou the pei fujino eeing a lot osh explains. >> reporter: poor road conditions across africa often cause vehicles to break down. these mechanics have travelled to japan to learn how to provide better maintenance in africa. the program is run by mitsubishi motors. company officials say after-sales service is part of the strategy for african markets. the mechanics learn computer skills needed for advanced car maintenance. >> the things we are learning here, first of all, are more
advanced than what we're used to in kenya. so hopefully i'll learn them and take the knowledge back to kenya, train my other colleagues. >> reporter: after-sales service is not just about maintenance. communication is also important. mechanics in japan talk with customers when they bring their cars in for maintenance. >> translator: we offer tire coating for about $5. it protects the rubber from ultraviolet rays, which can cause deterioration. let me know if you're interested. >> translator: can the tires begin to deteriorate within a year? >> translator: if you leave them unprotected, they can.
>> today i have experience that technicians should not always be cautious about their job. they should also be aware of other people. >> translator: we're trying to provide the same level of customer support in africa as in japan. we hope that will help us sell more new vehicles. >> reporter: mitsubishi isn't the only company trying to gain a foothold in africa by taking good care of customers. this tokyo-based firm exports used cars. just five years ago it only sold a few vehicles in africa. but last year they shipped some 100,000 units there. quite a few cars break down before they even reach buyers in africa. some of the parts get stolen too. the company avoids such problems by using its own delivery
service, making it an attractive choice. company workers drive cars to buyers, even if they are thousands of kilometers away. if the vehicles break down along the way, the worker repairs it for free. >> translator: we deliver the cars directly to our clients. they're very grateful for this kind of service. >> translator: we'd like people in africa to feel secure by buying cars from us with quality vehicles and the customer support they deserve. >> reporter: competition is heating up in africa's auto markets. japanese companies are hoping to get an advantage by offering high-quality service to match high-quality cars. shinpei fujino, nhk world.
every morning, investors turn their attention to asia, the tokyo market leads the way, and markets around the world follow. >> from the decisions that could change the course of an economy. >> to the companies at the forefront of change. >> up to the minute market reports. >> and analysis by specialists from around the world. >> get all the latest business news and insight every day here on "newsline." travelers returning to japan from overseas sometimes bring home an unwelcome souvenir, dengue fever. japanese health authorities have reported an occurrence of the disease in a patient who's never left the country. it's the first case of a person becoming infected within japan in almost 70 years. officials at japan's health ministry say the patient is a teenaged girl in saitama
prefecture near tokyo. the girl was hospitalized last wednesday after complaining of fever and severe joint pain. she's in stable condition. the viral disease is transmitted by mosquitos, not from person to person. fukushima version of the "happy" video. the video has attracted over 1,300 comments in its first three months on youtube. >> translator: i think the song "happy" fits the mood in fukushima where people are trying to rebuild their hometown and live cheerfully. >> reporter: kumusaka is now working to produce a second video to show the world how tough the people of fukushima are. this city holds an annual festival which dates back more than 1,000 years.
people clad in samurai armor ride horses and fight each other in the event. kumusaka called on local people to help with the video project. one of them is this man, a horseback riding instructor who organizes the festival. kumusaka wants the video to show the world the unyielding spirit of people here who fight on no matter what happens. maeda lost many relatives and friends in the tsunami. he sent his wife and children outside the prefecture after the disaster. but he remained in his hometown. he runs a company that does decontamination work, which is crucial for rebuilding fukushima. >> translator: there are more hard times in your life than happy times, but you can live positively because there are some happy times. and there are many occasions you can feel happiness. >> reporter: this is the
festival. maeda helps young participants put on samurai costumes. he conveys to them the pride of their ancestors who started the festival. kumusaka and her camera crew film the festival. they recorded the growing excitement of the crowd and the thrilling movement of the horses and riders. 450 warriors are ready to fight. ♪ the story of my life i drive all night ♪ they are some of the people living their lives in fukushima. >> translator: i was moved by the spirit of the people who have always protected their homeland and will continue to do so. it's the samurai spirit. that's what the video will show